SEVEN teenagers who were arrested over the stabbings of two Riverside College students have been released by police.

The 16-year-old pupils suffered serious injuries after being attacked on Kingsway, near to the Widnes sixth form, on the afternoon of Monday, February 3.

Cheshire Police and Merseyside Police carried out a series of dawn raids in Liverpool on the morning of Friday, February 7, in connection with the stabbings.

Six 16-year-old boys and a 17-year-old were held on suspicion of wounding with intent, but all seven have since been released on conditional bail.

A 16-year-old boy also voluntarily attended a police station and was interviewed under caution over the assault.

Detective inspector Ian Whiley said: “Since two 16-year-old boys were stabbed near to Riverside College in Widnes shortly before 3pm on Monday, February 3, we have been gathering intelligence regarding those involved in this disturbing incident.

“The extensive work we have been doing behind the scenes led to seven warrants being executed simultaneously in Liverpool on Friday, February 7.

“The seven boys subsequently arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent are all from Liverpool, as is a 16-year-old boy who voluntarily attended a police station on Saturday 9 February and was interviewed under caution in connection with the incident.

“Although we have now made a series of arrests in connection with the stabbings, our investigation continues and we are still appealing for information and footage from members of the public.

“If you were in the Kingsway area around the time of the incident and witnessed it, or anything else that may aid our investigation, please contact the team here at Widnes Police Station.

“We believe that passing motorists may have seen, and even have dashcam of, what happened.

“If you have any information, or dashcam or mobile phone footage, that may help us to establish exactly what happened and who was responsible please get in touch.”

All of the suspects and the two boys who were stabbed were from Liverpool, with the latter pair having since been released from hospital.

Chief inspector Sarah Heath, Cheshire Police’s knife crime lead, added: “Everyone at the force is pleased to hear that the two boys who were stabbed in Widnes are now back home recovering from the injuries they sustained.

“The consequences of the alarming incident could have been much worse for everyone involved, and their families.

“We take knife crime extremely seriously at Cheshire Constabulary – we have a structured prepare, protect, pursue and prevent approach to tackling knife crime that involves various partner agencies, including local authorities, education providers, health authorities, third sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups.

“We work together to educate young people about the dangers and futility of carrying weapons, steer them away from criminality and offer them attractive alternative ways to spend their time.

“The force is proud of the fact that we have one of the lowest rates of knife crime in England, and that Cheshire is one of the few counties in England and Wales that has seen a reduction in the number of knife related offences committed in recent times.

“But our aim is for weapon-free streets throughout the county and we will continue to endeavour – through education, awareness and action – to make Cheshire an area where no-one carries a knife or feels that there is a reason to do so.

“However, the police cannot achieve this goal on our own.

“Knife crime is a societal problem that cannot be solved without the support of the whole society.

“If you have any information regarding knife crimes or those who carry weapons please let us know, or let Crimestoppers know anonymously.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Cheshire Police on 101, quoting incident number IML627919, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.